Souper Service Feeds Bonney Lake
If restaurants can have curbside food pickup, why can’t the church do something similar? In a defining moment, the youth and young adults of Bonney Lake Church answered that question and found a ministry outlet: a drive-through soup kitchen.
The young people had been studying the story of the Good Samaritan and were brainstorming ways they could serve their community. Every idea presented a pandemic-related hurdle — that is, until the curbside idea.
With a vision in mind, leaders Marty Beard, Kaitlyn Herman and Mikeala Herman pitched the idea to the church board and obtained permission to use the church’s front entry and parking lot.
“After we got our food handler’s training, we began reaching out to community partners to advertise,” shares Kaitlyn Herman. “We talked with the food bank, the senior center and the local grocery stores. We also posted on our community Facebook group."
The church’s history of community service served as a benefit for establishing or reestablishing contacts for sharing advertising handouts and receiving donated goods.
With just enough planning and plenty of prayer, the volunteers offered the first drive-through soup pickup and served 81 meals to their neighbors the last Saturday of October 2020. The next month was significantly smaller in turnout, yet the volunteers — a combination of youth, young adults and parents — persisted. Now, they serve about 50–55 meals the last Saturday of each month.
“God keeps showing us His better plans,” Herman says. “And we’ve learned that Instant Pots are our friends.”
Each meal features a vegetarian or vegan soup option (prepared by chef Mikeala Herman with sous chef assistance), bread (now donated by Oroweat Bakery Outlet), fruit cups and other food items to round out the meal-to-go. Guests can choose from the available soup options and place their “order” when they arrive. There are even treats available for four-legged friends.
“We see both new and familiar faces, and we’re starting to build relationships,” Beard says. “It’s a reality check when you realize many of the people are living in their cars or on the street.”
“You can see the worry and stress of pandemic on people’s faces,” Herman says. “There is a lot of appreciation for the warmth of human interaction.”
“We usually have an opportunity to listen and pray with people,” Beard says. “We always pray beforehand that the Holy Spirit will guide our interactions.”
Ultimately, Herman notes, “We want to provide both physical and spiritual food.”